I recently came to understand that I have an intolerance for gluten. I guess in this day and age, lots of us are discovering this. Is it so prevalent because of the inception of GMO crops or is it something else? Who knows. All I know is that I have to change my entire way of eating, shopping and cooking.
Yesterday was my first gluten free day and I hit the grocery store with a gusto. The gusto quickly became a whimper as I realized not only how many things are now off limits, but exactly what impact this change was going to have on our family’s food budget. Wow this stuff is pricey!
For dinner last night, I prepared baked chicken breasts with a quinoa salad. (pronounced keen-wa) Now I’m sure that with the recent proclamation that this is a super-food, most of us have heard of it, but many have been hesitant to try it. I was in that group. It’s strange looking and that makes it less appealing. I eat with my eyes first!
But I had to bite the bullet, so I did. I followed all the instructions I’ve read on numerous sites. Apparently the most important thing you do to quinoa is rinse it in cold water for 2 mintues first and foremost. There is a coating on the seed which can make the dish bitter; rinsing gets rid of it.
Quinoa must be cooked. It is not eaten raw. The process is quite similar to rice, except these little guys will triple in volume and rice only doubles (slacker).
While that was simmering on the stove, I cut up a bunch of vegggies in my drawer. I didn’t preselect, I just grabbed what looked good and cut it into small diced pieces:
- Red Onion
- Red Pepper
By this time the quinoa had cooked and I fluffed it with a fork and left it to cool down. It should be cooled before adding to the veggies so they won’t get soggy.
For the dressing, I cheated a little and just poured on a 1/4 cup of Kraft Greek Feta dressing we had in the fridge. I have a couple of picky eaters and I didn’t want to go messing with lemon juice-olive oil- salt ratios at my first rodeo.
I put the dressing on last, after adding the cooled quinoa and mixed it all up. At the last minute, I grabbed some of the fresh baby spinach I had (about a handful of leaves) and mixed that it. It looked a little strange becuase it doesn’t “mix in” the way the other ingredients do, but it sure added a nice dimension to the flavour.
When it was all done, I had a taste testing with the kids in my care. At first they looked at it with scrunched up faces and fear. After they took their first bite?
They wanted more! Awesome!